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Showing posts from November, 2011

Desert Song

Have you been through the desert in your journey? If you are new to your journey, get ready for the desert. If you have been on your journey for any length of time, you have been through several or many deserts. Deserts are a normal, necessary, and useful part of your journey; just as winter is an integral season each year.

Between leaving and arriving is the desert. God invites each one of us to do something better and to be someone better. God knows we are not ready and so He takes us through a desert of discipline to get us ready. In the desert, we ask hard questions. In the desert, we learn new things about God: our consciousness of God is enlarged. We get revelation knowledge. Things we believed in and read in The Book, but never experienced happen for us and to us in the desert. Something is built up inside us that was not there before. Forced out of our former comfortableness, we learned to receive comfort from God.

Death and tranquility exist side by side in …

Angry at God

But Jonah thought this was utterly wrong, and he became angry. -Jonah 4:1

Jonah didn't get it when God changed his mind. Maybe he liked preaching the message of destruction? Maybe he wanted Nineveh to be destroyed. And he was furious when the Nineties repented and God decided to not destroy them.

Have you ever watched something and assumed an outcome, based on your own calculations? We might believe that someone or something is beyond remedy, beyond hope. We might believe someone or something or some situation is too far gone.

God does not think the way we do. Someone may speak for God, but not know God. Someone might know God's acts, but not know God's ways. While God is the judge and judges purely and is completely wise, God also abounds in mercy and has the ability to extend forgiveness beyond beyond the abilities of the human heart.

We are taught simple forgiveness by God as a way of life, but we also have to practice hard forgiveness; forgiving inconceivably: for…

God changes His mind

God saw what they were doing—that they had ceased their evil behavior. So God stopped planning to destroy them, and he didn’t do it. Jonah 3:10

The Ninevites made real changes and then God made a change. He changed his mind. God stopped the plans to destroy Nineveh. There was nothing in God's word that Jonah declared that was conditional. God did not say, "if you repent, I will relent." I read the word as saying, "it's over, but I'm giving you forty days."

The king on Nineveh imagined out loud when he said, "who knows? God may see this and turn from his wrath, so that we might not perish." Having not been schooled in how prophecy works and in the face of ruin, this king of a people who have a track record of evil is suddenly optimistic; while at the same time, being gravely certain of the truth of Jonah's word and leading his people in sincere repentance.

But why 40 days? Even the 40 day warning was merciful. The question would be…

Repentance

The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” Jonah 3:5-9

They simply believed God. Polytheists and idolaters suddenly became monotheists, listening to the one true God. When the real God speaks, it is different; and he spoke through Jonah. Jesus said, "they changed their hearts and lives in response to Jonah…

The Message

Jonah started into the city, walking one day, and he cried out, “Just forty days more and Nineveh will be overthrown!” Jonah 3:4

In his assignment to go to Nineveh, given a second time, God had told Jonah that he was to, "declare against it the proclamation that I am commanding you.” As promised, God gave Jonah the proclamation he was to proclaim, “Just forty days more and Nineveh will be overthrown!” This is what he preached on the streets of Nineveh. God had given Jonah a word to deliver to a group of people and he delivered it.

Jonah, "just did it". He didn't write it, he didn't look for key people, he didn't whisper, and he didn't try to be contextual in assimilating to the culture and finding a way to sugar coat this hard word. No, he just did and said what God told him to do and say. Was Jonah smiling or frowning, stern or genteel? We don't know.

Prophetic preaching is when God gives you a word concerning the future of a people and you pro…